Fun Week

We had a pretty fun - and quick - week this week. First, I hope you all had a fabulous long weekend. My dear friend Erin took the opportunity to come home from Boston for a visit and Israel and I were happy to visit with her on Monday. Then on Tuesday another dear friend, Bethany, came into town from Texas. It was great to see both of them and for them to meet Israel for the first time. (Sorry I don't have a picture with you, Erin!)

In just about an hour we are leaving for our first camping trip of the year and Israel's first of her life! I am SO excited - family camping trips are my all-time favorite activity ever. And our numbers are ever-increasing. We have 12 adults (including a pregnant lady) and 4 kids coming. We'll spend the weekend at the Great River Bluffs State Park in Winona, MN.
Pictures to come! :)


4-Month Checkup

Today Israel had her 4-month checkup. She is healthy and strong, 14 pounds and 25 inches long. That's 75th percentile for weight and 90th for height. I can't believe how big she has gotten.
She had two more shots today, too, and is a little sore and cranky from that. The good news is that the doctor said Rae was vaccinated for Roto Virus at two months and again today...which probably explains why she avoided the outbreak at church these past few weeks. Praise God for protecting her.
Four months have flown by. It's amazing how many things Israel has learned and developed in only 16 weeks. She continues to amaze me with her sweet disposition and hunger for learning (and anything else she can put in her mouth). I can't wait to learn more about Israel with every passing day.

Worldview Quiz

Here is an interesting Worldview Quiz that my brother-in-law sent to me. Click here to take the short quiz and find out where you rank on this particular spectrum. I was a -6, -10.
Here is a projected graph of where some other world figures might fall.


My Jesus Story

A couple services ago at church, my dad asked people to think about their testimony - the experience they had with Jesus when they got saved. A number of people got up and shared their Jesus stories, and I sat and thought about mine. I obviously grew up in a Christian home and came to know the Lord at a very early age. But - like most of us - my faith was tested as I grew older. I had to learn the difference between knowing who Jesus was and knowing Him personally.
My time of testing really began my freshman year of college. I was 18 years old and living in sin, though professing Christ as my Savior. I knew who Jesus was and I believed in what he had done for me, but I wasn't living my life for Him. I could talk the talk with the best of them, but the Bible says if you love the Lord you will obey Him, and I certainly wasn't obeying Him. And it killed me. My life was empty and meaningless without Him. I would cry out to Him in tears wondering why I couldn't seem to get close to Him like I used to.
I was driving in my car one day, feeling low and disconnected from God, when this song came on the radio. It was as if Jesus was singing it directly to me:

Saying I love you is not the words I want to hear from you
It's not that I want you not to say, but if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel

More than words is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me
Cos I'd already know

What would you do if my heart was torn in two?
More than words to show you feel
That your love for me is real
What would you say if I took those words away?
Then you couldn't make things new
Just by saying I love you

Now I've tried to talk to you and make you understand
All you have to do is close your eyes
And just reach out your hands and touch me
Hold me close don't ever let me go

More than words is all I ever needed you to show
Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me
Cos I'd already know

I had to pull over to the side of the road because I was crying so hard. All He needed was for me to start showing Him I loved him through obedience, not just saying I loved Him and knew Him. It was a life-changing moment, and whenever I hear that song I think about how sweet it was to hear God's voice after being so long away from Him.
That's my Jesus story. What's yours?


Stormy Wednesday

They call it storm Monday, but Wednesday's just as bad.
Our area got hit pretty bad. The neighbors lost a tree and we had marble-sized hail in piles. I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but our kitchen window was busted in as well. Notice the leaves plastered to the house, too. We were eating at a restaurant in Plymouth when the storm came through and the power went off in the restaurant.
Praise God for His protection.


Happy Birthday Ava!!!

Today our beautiful niece Ava is one year old! We celebrated at a birthday party on Sunday. It's hard to believe that a whole year has gone by. Ava has mastered a "wounded soldier" type of crawl and is busy learning how to walk. She can cruise around the furniture with the best of them. She is such a sweet, content, pleasant, and obviously BEAUTIFUL little girl and we are so thankful that she is a part of our lives! We love you, Ava Nicole!


I thought of something else

I thought of something else to add to my list of things people might not know about me. We'll call it #7 since that's where I left off.

7. I am a two-time Emmy Award winner. Not the big national Emmy's, but the smaller regional Emmy's. I won the awards two years in a row for short videos I produced in college. Both of the awards are on display at the U of M's School of Journalism and Mass Communications in Murphy Hall. I guess they figured that since they paid for my entry and my $150/plate meal at the ceremony, they got to keep the statue.

8. Still can't come up with a #8.


Tag, I'm it

Meg tagged me to list 8 random things about myself that you might not know. Just so you know, Meg, I usually don't do these things (and I'm not going to tag anybody else) but I'm doing this just for you! I'm not even sure I can think of 8 things.

Here are the rules: Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. I am slightly ambidextrous. I am right-handed, but there are certain things that I can only do left-handed, like shooting pool, dealing cards, and carrying trays as a waitress (I carry the tray on my right hand whereas most right-handed people would carry it with their left and serve the food with their right).

2. I have severe food texture issues that prevent me from eating many otherwise delicious things. Anything that crunches but is still soft (like mushrooms and seafood) is DEFINITELY not a part of my diet, though I love the flavor of mushrooms. Water Chestnuts are no good either.

3. Before deciding to study journalism, I wanted to study science, particularly astronomy and meteorology. I REALLY wanted to be a storm chaser.

4. Many of you know this, but many of you don't. I went to a tiny private high school in Plymouth, MN and had a graduating class of only 24 people.

5. On a more serious note, I struggled with an eating disorder during college (bulimia via laxatives) but was set free by the Grace and Power of God. Most of my close friends don't even know this.

6. I am NOT a morning person. But I married THE morning person of the century. It's been interesting.

7 & 8. I cannot think of anything else even remotely interesting to say about myself, but if anything comes to mind, I'll let you know. Or perhaps YOU all can write things about me in the comments section! Remind me of my quirks.


Playdate with Beckett

Yesterday Nicole and Beckett came over for a playdate. Though I think Nicole and I did more playing than the kids.
Beckett is getting big and still oh so cute!

After a long day of playing...


Mothers Day

Happy belated mother's day to all of you moms out there! Sunday was my very first Mothers Day, and it was wonderful. The festivities began on Friday night. We had dinner with JP's dad's side of the family and it was lovely. On Sunday we started the day with brunch with JP's mom's side of the family, then Larry treated JP's mom, sister and I to a trip to the nail salon! I savored every minute of my much-needed pedicure, so thank you, Larry! Later that night we had dinner with my family at my parents house. Israel had her first experience in the kiddie pool along with her cousin, Elijah. She really liked the pool...and being outside in general.

Upon arriving home, we noticed that Israel's headband had slipped down on her head and was making her ears stick out in a very cute and funny way.
Even though this weekend celebrated mothers, I want to take some time to honor my husband. I could never be the mother I am without him. He helps me when I'm struggling and encourages me when I'm standing strong. He helps me keep my head on my shoulders when I would let my emotions overtake me, and he reminds me of who I am in Christ. While to many he may seem loud and domineering, I admire his strength and conviction with all my heart, and I see the gentleness and compassion in him that nobody else cares to notice. He works had to provide for me, Israel, and others even if it means long hours and weekends - and he doesn't complain about it because he sees it as his duty before God. He leads this family in faith and with vision. He loves me, and I love him. I am so proud to be his wife and the mother of his children.

Contraception: Why Not?

Today I received a book in the mail that I had ordered that deals with Natural Family Planning. This is the method JP and I have chosen to use in spacing out our children. Along with the book came a CD of a talk by a doctor named Janet Smith. The talk is titled "Contraception: Why Not?" I sat down and listened to it today and would encourage everyone to read the transcript here.
I personally am anti-contraception of any form, and I think Dr. Smith makes a very clear, Biblical argument against the use of contraceptives. I am fully aware that this will probably offend many of my readers, but that's okay. Just read the article. If you won't read all of it, at least read the second half of it. If you still disagree, so be it. Whatever you do, do it in faith.
Here are some points that Dr. Smith makes:
-In the 60's, the expectation was that contraceptives would make for better marriages, fewer unwanted pregnancies, and fewer abortions. None of these assumptions were correct, and she has stats on all of them.
-Statistics show that people who contracept in marriage generally have weaker marriages
-The rate of adultery has greatly increased since contraceptives came on the scene (if most every woman is contracepting, most every woman is available without consequence)
-From the article: "..When male and female participate in the sexual act, they have opened up the arena which God has designed for bringing forth new human life. And when they contracept, they are slamming that door in God's face. They're saying, 'We want to enjoy this pleasurable act that You gave us, but we do not want to let You perform Your creative act.' Now, I'm not saying that couples who are contracepting, are conscious that this is what they're doing. But, this is what the act itself means. It's much like drinking a little bit of poison in your orange juice. You might not know it's there, but it will have it's effect on you. You're not intentionally doing that, but that's what the act itself means."
-Contraceptives have negative physical effects on a woman's body, including increased irritability, depression, weight gain, and reduced libido. "Now, I don't know about the rest of you women, but I've been looking for a pill that will make me more irritable, more depressed, help me to gain weight, and reduce my libido so I can have sex."

And most importantly in my mind...

-THE PILL IS AN ABORTIFACIENT. Yes, it's true. Just read the insert that comes with your prescription. The pill's first line of defense is to prevent ovulation, but a woman's body can still have "breakthrough ovulation" without you even knowing it. If you do ovulate and the egg ends up getting fertilized (beginning of life), the pill will cause your uterus to reject the baby, thus aborting the child without you even knowing it.

So if you have a few extra minutes, please read the article. It's long, but it's worth it. In the end it also goes into the differences between Natural Family Planning and Contraceptives and why a Christian couple might opt for NFP.
If you want a free copy of the CD, click here.


Speaking of...

Rae was being especially talkative today.


Israel's Dedication

We dedicated Israel at church this past Saturday!
Sorry it took me so long to post, but we forgot our camera there and I didn't have any pictures to go along with it. Thanks to Auntie Amber for sending these ones.
The dedication was sweet and very special. JP talked about why we chose the name Israel for our daughter. The name itself is generally a man's name and means "contends with God." Most people would consider that a bad thing, but when you look at the story in context, you realize that Israel didnt' just wrestle with God out of pride or stubbornness. He had tasted the blessing of God and knew that he could never let go of it. There was no point to life if God's blessing wasn't there. We pray that Rae's relationship with God will be equally as passionate. And as for it being a boy's name...while the man Israel was indeed a man, the NATION of Israel is generally referred to in the feminine form throughout the Bible. She is God's bride.

Here is a picture of the cute dress she wore. Her uncle Nathan gave it to her.

After prayer and some prophetic words which I have yet to transcribe, Great Grampy came up and shared a super cute poem he had written for Israel.

Grampy's Poem:

Rae, Rae, this is your day!
May you always listen to what God has to say.

Rae, Rae, this is your day!
May you always listen to what Mom has to say.

Rae, Rae, this is your day!
May you always listen to what Dad has to say.

Rae, Rae, this is your day!
May you always have love each and every day.

Rae, Rae, God will be with you
Each and every day.

Rae, Rae, dedicated to God on the fifth of May.

Rae, Rae, you had your day!
May you always be as precious as you are today.


Three Months

Today my baby girl is three months old. I cannot imagine my life without her. She brings me more joy than just about anything else in the world. When I look at her next to all the tiny little newborn babies, I can't believe how much she has grown. Every day she does something new, makes a new discovery, and amazes me again.
Everybody told me she would change my life, but I never knew just how true it was. I love you, Israel!


Like father, like daughter?

When I have the TV on during the day, I generally try to position Rae away from it so she doesn't zone off into TV land. I guess maybe I am going to need to turn it off while she's awake. Check out these pictures: I had her turned away from the TV, but she twisted her head all the way around to catch the screen. Pretty funny if not a bit disturbing. :)